We all know how important sleep is to our health and wellbeing, yet consistently people skip their much needed rest. Work commitments and family obligations can all leave us missing out on vital hours and we all have those nights where we just can’t drop off. Insomnia can make it difficult to concentrate, weaken our memory and leaves us prone to distraction. Sleep deprivation has even been linked to anxiety and weight gain.
In summary, lack of sleep is a quick way to a bad day! Despair no longer! There are simple and effective ways that you can improve your sleep cycles and make sure that both mind and body are revitalised every morning, try the techniques below and before long you should be sleeping soundly.
Table of Contents
- 1. Sleep deep in the dark
- 2. Sleep in silence
- 3. Don’t sleep in heat
- 4. Watch what you ingest
- 5. Relax to relax
- 6. Read to relax
- 7. Relax with romance
- 8. Comforting drinks
- 9. No napping!
- 10. Exercise often
- 11. The bed is for sleeping
- 12. Lull yourself to sleep
- 13. Can’t sleep won’t sleep
- 14. Build a sleep routine
1. Sleep deep in the dark
It may seem obvious, but making sure the room we sleep in is completely dark is vital to a restful sleep. Our eyes are very sensitive to changes in light and so those stray rays in the morning can easily wake us. Not only that but light inhibits production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Try covering any blinking lights, turning around the alarm clock or try investing in a thicker curtain or curtain lining. If you have trouble making your room completely dark, try an eye mask to block out any excess light while you sleep.
2. Sleep in silence
A lucky few can sleep through anything but the rest of us have to do our best to minimise sound in the environment we sleep. Make sure to turn electric devices off, instead of just putting them on standby, often they cause a light humming sound. If there is excessive noise while you sleep, (parties, traffic and loud neighbours usually the culprits!) why not try ear plugs? They come in a range of types and prices so you can easily find which type is best for you.
3. Don’t sleep in heat
To fall asleep your body temperature needs to lower, so tucking up in a sauna isn’t going to help matters! Make sure to ventilate your room properly, try an evening bath or shower within an hour of bed time, or try a lighter duvet in the summer. If you really struggle, try dipping your hands or feet in cold water, it may just help send you over into the land of nod.
4. Watch what you ingest
Caffeinated drinks and food are a big problem in the evening as they will keep our bodies stimulated far longer than most of us realise. Substituting that evening coffee for it’s decaf alternative may make more difference than you’d expect. Many believe alcohol can aid sleep, but this is simply not the case. Though it may make you feel drowsy at first, it’s sedating effect most certainly won’t last all night and as your blood alcohol level drops your sleep becomes disturbed.
5. Relax to relax
By bedtime a million worries can be racing through our minds, all stopping us from getting to sleep. Assuage your mind and your sleep cycle by trying some easy relaxation techniques. You could try meditation or deep breathing exercises or keep it simple and have a long relaxing bath or massage. Relaxing our bodies, relaxes our minds and so leads to deep, sound sleep.
6. Read to relax
Although it’s tempting to simply flick on the TV or surf the internet before bed the blue light produced by LCD and laptop screens inhibits the production of melatonin, not only that, but watching is generally a passive activity which doesn’t tire our brains. Reading a book involves no sleep deteriorating blue light and engages us cognitively, tiring and relaxing us simultaneously which can lead to easier, better sleep.
7. Relax with romance
Not only will you melt your partner, but a candle lit dinner could help you melt into a dream sleep! Artificial lights often emit that dreaded melatonin robber, blue light and so substituting these for candles will not only vitalise your partner but is soft and soothing and can aid you in your quest for revitalising sleep.
8. Comforting drinks
It can help to lull ourselves to sleep with a hot drink. Warm milk and chamomile tea are often touted as excellent remedies for sleepless nights and they may be just the trick to set you off for the night. However, make sure you have a strong bladder, as nocturnal bathroom visits can disturb our sleeping patterns.
9. No napping!
It may be tempting to drift off for a nap during the day but this often leads to later nights and less sleep. Try to resist naps and enjoy a full nights rest.
10. Exercise often
If you don’t get enough or any exercise at work, it may be a good idea to try it at home. Even a 20 minute light work out can help to tire your body and will promote your body’s’ production of oxygen, allowing you to sleep easy through the night.
11. The bed is for sleeping
It is often tempting to take our meals or work in bed, however this leads us to associate the bed with things other than sleep! If your mind and body both identify the bed as just where you sleep you will find it much easier to get your rest.
12. Lull yourself to sleep
Lullabies are a time honoured way of soothing babies to sleep but there is music that can help adults sleep too. There are hundreds of CD’s that are for this purpose, ranging from the sounds of nature, to melodious music and vocals that send you to a sound sleep.
13. Can’t sleep won’t sleep
If you can’t sleep for over 30 minutes, get up! Though it may seem counter intuitive, laying in bed for too long tossing and turning is a quick way to a restless night. Try doing something quiet and non stimulating and then when you feel tired, get back into bed.
14. Build a sleep routine
We are all creatures of habit and though work schedules and commitments can clash with this, don’t let it clash with your sleep. Simply performing the same routine each night before bed will condition your body to associate that routine with sleep and you could incorporate the other tips into it! Have your candlelit dinner, followed by a nice long bath, dip into a book and then drift off to a perfect sleep with the help of guided meditation! Making sure you stick to this routine everyday will help to give you a perfect nights sleep and leave you fresh and revitalized every morning!